Tue, 18 Mar 2003

The folly of violence

I am writing in reference to your headline Community leaders unite to denounce thuggery (The Jakarta Post, March 15, 2003).

What is remarkable about this latest manifestation of the rent-a-mob racket at the Tempo offices is not that it occurred at all, nor that the police just stood by watching, a familiar story, it is its utter folly. That physically attacking journalists from a nationally and internationally respected newsmagazine such as Tempo would achieve anything other than to discredit Tomy Winata's business activities and bring national opprobrium on the man himself should be obvious even to the most dim-witted.

If this was the result of the initiative of an over- enthusiastic Winata minion, then Winata would be doing us all a service were he to say so and while himself accepting a leader's responsibility to hand over those directly involved to be prosecuted for incitement to violence. Unfortunately, they can't be sent to jail just for being stupid.

On the other hand, if Tomy Winata remains silent, then we must draw our own conclusions.